Goodbye Disney Dreams.

Dear Walt Disney World,

I never thought I would say goodbye to you, but I have to stop hoping.

I have always loved you and will always remember you fondly, although also with sadness at what might have been.

I visited pre-children, honeymooned with you, brought my first son, then my second. You have given us all magical memories.

And you have carried me through some of the toughest times in life.

Before my son had hip surgery, we had a magical holiday with you, thanks to Make-A-Wish and Give Kids The World. It was the most amazing time. You do so much to support the work being done at Give Kids The World and many families are most grateful to you for it.

It gave us precious memories which carried us through a lengthy and very painful recovery. When he was in a cast from his chest to his ankles and couldn’t get out of bed, we watched the video Daddy had put together from his “wish holiday”. We leafed through photo albums and filled our walls with magical memories.

Two years later, before risky spinal surgery, we just had to bring him again. This time we stayed at the Pop Century and it was, once again, an amazing holiday filled with so many memories.

Adam was bigger this time round and lifting him was a struggle but I was amazed at how accessible the transportation system is and I was simply overwhelmed at some of the wheelchair accessible rides! So much thought has gone into accessibility.

We had a few difficulties with toilet needs but he was not using the toilet properly in 2013 and we had been told to ask at your First Aid rooms to use your changing facilities. Luckily, he was small and we could lift him. Your cast members were, as always, amazing. They were so friendly, taking time to talk to our older son and reminding us to keep hydrated. Truly wonderful people.

The spinal surgery was harder on Adam than we had anticipated and there were weeks where the pain was so bad that he couldn’t get out of bed.  Once again, it was watching our holiday videos and looking at photos which carried us through.

During the worst moments we had our memories to look back at, and our future joy to look forward to as we talked about the trips we would take in the years ahead.

It is a beautiful, magical and utterly wonderful place. Words are not enough to describe it.

But now my dreams are being put in a box and hidden away.

I love Disney World. My family love it. I would go every year if I could but I know that we are unlikely to go back.

Not because we don’t want to.

Not because we want to go somewhere else instead.

Not because we will never afford it. (Can’t at the moment, but that has never stopped me dreaming before.)

But, quite simply, because our son can’t “go” in your amazing parks.

My son has worked so very hard to manage his bathroom needs but needs a restroom with a ceiling hoist to lift him from his wheelchair and a changing table to lay him down on to sort his clothes and switch to using his toileting sling. I can’t lift him any more. I hurt my back very badly a year ago and I struggle to even push his wheelchair now.

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“Flat Adam” is a few months old now. The real Adam is already bigger than he was when we drew round him.

My older son was taller than me when he turned 12. I think it is likely that Adam will be similar. I am 167cm tall and not growing any more!

He isn’t alone in this need. Statistics in the UK alone suggest that we have over 250,000 people here who utterly rely on these facilities in order to use the bathroom. Imagine that figure worldwide!

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Such a simple addition would help.

Your restrooms are already quite large. They just need a hoist and full sized changing table.

 

I realise that these facilities cost money. As do your regular toilets.

I also realise that they are not common place in America.

But Disney isn’t just any company. It isn’t just any business.

It is a place where magic happens, a place where elephants fly and where dreams come true. A place where you can soar through the skies, travel back in time, look to the future, command a mission to Mars and have breakfast with Winnie the Pooh.

Yet not every person can use the toilet at Walt Disney World.

So very sad when all that is needed is a ceiling hoist and changing table.

In a place of dreams, where anything can happen, can you make Adam’s dreams come true?

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Please.

I don’t want to have to tell my son that he can never visit the most magical place on earth again.

Saying goodbye to my dreams hurts but that pain is nothing compared to knowing that my son will hurt.

Please help children like Adam to keep their dreams.

Please make a small change to ensure that EVERYONE can visit and use the bathroom safely. For so many people, everyday life is already hard enough. Magical holidays give us memories to help us through the toughest days.

Disney, we need YOU to make this magic happen.

If my son can dream it, surely you can imagineer it?

Rachel George
A deeply saddened mother who just wants to give her child his dreams.


Update!

Walt Disney World have been in touch!

It will take time but they are committed to installing hoist assisted toilets in all their parks.

You can read the update HERE!

43 thoughts on “Goodbye Disney Dreams.

  1. So so true. Disney, like Rachel has side, you do an amazing job when it comes to accessibility and inclusion. However there us clearly a group of people for whom Disney Magic is not accessible. Please provide properly adapted toilet facilities in your theme parks and hotels to allow Adam, and others who need hoists send changing tables, to be able to experience the magic too. I’m sure, we’re Walt still alive he would be horrified that a whole section of society is excluded from experiencing the wonder and magic that is Disney.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the situation we are in. Evie will be nearly 9 when we go next year, we are still able to lift her at the moment but not for much longer. She is double incontinent and needs to have her pads changed throughout the day. Whilst we can lift her out of her wheelchair and use a changing mat on the floor, it is not dignified for her and it is not physically easy for us. A changing places toilet can be fitted from as little as £8000-come on Disney, you can afford to do this. There is a campaign in the UK for changing places and one in America called A place to change I think. This is an issue that affects a large number of people and their families.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am from Changing Spaces California. The larger group is Changing Spaces USA. We would love to be able to visit Disneyland in California. Sadly, we can not due to the lack of a powered height adjustable changing table and ceiling lift. So sad, when Disney has wheelchair accessible rides.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would love to visit Disneyland too and walk where Walt himself walked. But we can’t because there are no hoist assisted toilet facilities with changing tables. I am sure Walt would have wanted disabled people to be able to have fun with their families too.

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  3. This has made me really teary. Because it’s something so simple, yet so excluding. Everyone deserves to experience that magic. Just because they have a few extra toiletting needs, why should they have to miss out. Please Disney. It’s really not difficult and it would be life changing for so many amazing families. My son also needs these facilities, otherwise we cannot visit either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They have absolutely fantastic accessibility in so many areas. For us, it has been the most accessible holiday ever. Till now. This equipment needs s relatively new to businesses in the USA but Disney World really isn’t just another company.

      Magic happens. I am sure they can do this, they just need to know that it is needed.

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  4. So many dreams destroyed before they can begin because basic human need not met

    Disney need to realise that with these faclites they can make dreams come true

    Case of wish upon a star

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So true. Each and every person should be able to have the right facilities for theyr needs. Disney is such a magical place and every person no matter their situation should be able to experience that and not be worried about how they will use the toilets while being there.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m hopeful that this issue will be resolved, not much to ask from such a huge corporation that will benefit thousands of families. Disney have already blessed so many families, I’m positive they’ll keep on working to improve the families’ experiences. Here’s hoping!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for writing this. We are in exactly the same situation. We have taken our wee man to WDW 3 times, had the best memories ever (and like you, yes there are times at home that we need these special memories to help get through the tougher times) but future trips become more difficult to manage – because, whilst the first aid rooms at the parks have changing tables, there are no hoists. And, the lovely new Disney Springs (i.e. old Downtown Disney) doesn’t even have a changing table, so it is just a floor to use. When we returned in June I wrote to WDW about this – the response was :-

    Dear Gillian,
     
    Thank you for your reply.
     
    My apologies for the delay. I have shared the information with the appropriate Leaders in our Theme Parks.  Feedback from our guests is invaluable to us in examining our current operations.  Although we cannot commit to any changes, we will certainly give your request a thorough review.  Be assured that we are continuously evaluating our facilities to provide our guests with the finest in Guest Services during their visits. 
     
    Gillian, thank you again for your honest and constructive feedback.  I hope your next visit is filled with special memories.
     
    Sincerely, 
     
    Sarah Doyle
    Guest Experience Services
    Walt Disney World Resort

    So thank you for writing this, and perhaps the more of us who can put pressure on them for these changes to be made will work. I suppose we can all “wish upon a star”……

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Absolutely agree with you. We have had 3 magical trips and it is getting to the point we don’t know how to manage it again for this reason. I wrote to Disney after our last visit and they basically said they are “constantly evaluating” their services “although … Cannot commit to any changes”. This isn’t good enough. G

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  9. This is so very true, this is not a feature we currently need at the moment but that doesn’t make my views any less strong, to my mind this is a basic human right nothing less I have every faith Disney will do the right thing here, let’s hope they do it quicky!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Disney makes loads of money. Surely they can afford the equipment needed for all those children and even adults who need extra help just to use the facilities. Makes me angry and heartbroken.. Hopefully, they’ll do something about it 😦 #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

        1. That is the plan. I am hoping that many voices will come together and be heard. These facilities are relatively new in the states. There is a new campaign in America using the name Changing Spaces but they are up against a huge challenge.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Aww, you post makes me sad 😦 I hope something changes and you are able to visit again. We have always dreamed of going to Disney but never saved up enough yet. I would have loved to take the kids when they were little ..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a magical place. Prices change throughout the year. February and October are often cheaper and flights can alter significantly day to day. Keep saving, it will be worth it.

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  12. Thank you Rachel. Disney is truly a magical place for all but particularly our special kids but the lack of bench and hoist now Mia is getting bigger is the one factor that will stop us being able to go

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  13. It’s not something I had ever thought about or worried about until my Grandson was born with disabilities .I want him to have the same opportunities and experience as the whole family.
    I Don’t think it’s dignified to change his pad on the toilet floor or acceptable in this day and age.

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    1. He deserves a magical experience. Lying on a toilet floor is not magical. Being worried that your carer might not be able to lift you up again isn’t magical either.

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  14. I am sure that this must be a case of Disney not realising how much need there is for all inclusive changing facilities.
    There clearly is a need because Disney is such a magical and special place that many children and adults with additional needs visit to experience and inject as much magic in their sometimes difficult lives.
    Disney must take this on board.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. These resources were something that I had just assumed would already be available as a matter of course. Disney has such huge resources at its command, I am sure it would not be difficult for them to install at their sites. Surely every child deserves to have their dream holiday. Every child deserves to be included. As a parent of a child with multiple additional needs myself I feel that our children are very deserving indeed with all the struggles they go through every day. Our children have as much right to be able to enjoy the sheer magic and joy that other children feel through such experiences as anyone else. I hope this oversight is corrected and the needs of our children are recognised.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh dear Disney, It’s 2016 you know. Time for change, time to make sure all your customers are treated with dignity and respect, particularly when you have so many vulnerable people coming to you, to have trips of a lifetime… It doesn’t take much to put lifts (hoists) and adult changing benches into your restrooms (toilets) and in doing so you are removing the risk of significant harm to your disabled visitors, whether they be adult, teenager or child. Without appropriate equipment, your disabled visitors and carers will be toileted in inappropriate places (public toilet floors or in the back of cars), carers (paid or unpaid) will be putting themselves and their charges at risk by using risky handling manouevres that would not be considered safe by any healthcare provider. Putting somebody at risk of physical harm is abuse, putting someone into a situation that is degrading is abuse. Therefore not providing appropriate equipment and facilities for your disabled customers and their carers could be considered an act of neglect. Nobody should have to lie on a restroom floor, just because they don’t have the independent mobility to get onto the toilet, or the capability to remain seated, particularly not in a place where “dreams come true” and everyone “lives happily ever after”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very well said.

      People are currently placed in danger by poor facilities. Hoists and changing tables will improve safety as well as provide dignity.

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  17. It’s so sad that none of the Disney parks have accessible disabled toilet facilities with adult sized changing tables and a hoist.

    It’s not like they’re unaware of the need when so many people have asked them. And yet they ignore them. It would cost them nothing. Such a small change would make a huge difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Please please please Disney, could you make more dreams come true , yes i believe you can, add accessible toilet facilities to your parks and hotels, hoists and mechanical changing tables so that the height can be changed and both children’s and adults alike can be changed in a more dignified way. You already do a great job making your rides accessible for all, now it’s time to look at other areas to improve. We believe in you Disney . Make all our dreams come true. Thankyou.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have spoken to a Disney representative on the phone and they have confirmed that they will be installing these facilities in the future! It was the most fabulous news!

      Like

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